Proposed budget releases temps, reassigns full-timers

By: Jim Ratajczak, The Telegraph
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The proposed budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year was presented at the Folsom City Council meeting May 27. “This has been one of the most challenging budgets the city has had to prepare,” said City Manager Kerry Miller. “Like every jurisdiction in the state, we’re feeling the results of an economic downturn.” The proposed general fund budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year is down five-and-a-half-percent from the 2007-2008 budget – $59 million from approximately $63 million. As a result, the proposed general fund budget, if adopted, will cut an estimated 60 part-time and probationary city employees. “These are people who might be filling in at the Arts and Senior Center providing an hour’s worth of work once a month,” said Miller. But he also conceded some long-term part-timers would be gone as well. Also, positions that are currently vacant, like Deputy Fire Chief and Deputy City Attorney, will not be filled. As far as full-time occupied positions go, the proposed budget will affect 21 city employees. But both Miller and Assistant City Manager Evert Palmer emphasized these individuals would not be laid-off. Rather, they would be reassigned to different positions within city departments. Other changes would include a three-hour reduction in operational hours for the public library on Monday nights. “The librarians have indicated Monday evenings are the slowest during the week,” said Miller. Palmer was quick to point out that, when the joint-use library at Vista del Lago opens, bibliophiles will actually see a net gain in the total hours of operation for Folsom’s libraries. Also, during winter months, the aquatic center would remain closed during early mornings – hours that, according to Miller, see “minimal” use. One thing that the budget will not change, however, is the manpower of Folsom’s public safety departments, although it will delay the start of Folsom’s new east area fire station by one year, knocking that back to 2010. Before anything is final, though, city officials have planned a budget workshop for 5:30 p.m. Monday and a public hearing Tuesday. Regardless of what the is said at the workshop or hearing, nobody is able to predict what the California state budget will spell for Folsom. “We are mindful of the state budget,” said Palmer. “We don’t know what they’re going to do. We are carefully monitoring their efforts to see how they might affect us.” “The prospect that the state will dip into public coffers is always there,” said Miller.